21 April 2009

Geithner: "Vast Majority" of US Banks Have More Capital Than Needed

This morning before Congress Treasury Secretary Turbo Tax Tim said that the stress test results show that the 'vast majority' of US banks have more capital than they need.

Right. Most real banks, who do banking, have sufficient capital and have been well managed.

Its only the five or six largest money center banks that have trillions in bad debt and toxic derivatives that threaten to soak up all the available capital in the real economy.

Its the vast majority of banks who have been sound in their credit expansion and risk management who are paying the price through higher FDIC fees, along with the taxpayers, as Tim and Larry support the Wall Street oligarchs.

The action in the equity markets ahead of Tim's remarks was about as blatant as it gets. This is getting to be disgusting.

Market manipulation and rampant financial speculation with public funds will continue until we are confident that the economy has improved. When the electricity fails because of malinvestment in the real world economy, the Obama people can have public service community organizers deliver pamphlets door to door telling us how good things are becoming.

April 21 (Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told a congressional panel that the “vast majority” of U.S. banks have more capital than needed.

He also said there are signs of thawing in credit markets and some indication that confidence is beginning to return.

“Indicators on interbank lending, corporate issuance and credit spreads generally suggest improvements in confidence in the stability of the system and some thawing in credit markets,” Geithner said in prepared testimony to the committee overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Earlier today, Geithner said the program has enough money for bank rescues even under “conservative” estimates.

Geithner reiterated the Treasury’s view that about $135 billion is still available for bank rescues, out of $700 billion originally authorized by Congress.

The total includes about $590 billion that has been allocated so far for various TARP activities, leaving $110 billion remaining. Also, the Treasury expects $25 billion in repayments this year, leading to the total projection of $135 billion available.

“We believe that even under the conservative estimate of available funds described here, we have the resources to move forward implementing all aspects of our Financial Stability Plan,” Geithner said in a letter to Elizabeth Warren, the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel.

May Have More

The Treasury first put forward these estimates in late March. In the letter, Geithner said it’s possible the Treasury may have even more money remaining, depending on how many banks repay TARP and whether the housing program uses its full allocation.

“Our projections anticipate only $25 billion will be repaid” over the next year, Geithner said. This figure is “lower than many private analysts expect,” he said.

Geithner’s letter comes on the same day as a separate report on the rescue program prepared by Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for TARP. Barofsky said his office has six audits underway about various elements of the program.

One of these inquiries is looking into federal assistance to Bank of America, which has benefited from three different bank rescue programs, and Treasury’s decision to extend aid in connection with Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch. The audit was expanded to include the other eight large banks that received TARP funding in October 2008, the report said.

The reporters on this story: Rebecca Christie in Washington